According to an article by Ed Werder on espn.com, the San Diego Chargers could change their defensive scheme to benefit former Indianapolis Colts defensive end/linebacker Dwight Freeney. ”Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said the team will certainly design its defensive scheme to accommodate him.”
San Diego uses a 3-4 defense with two defensive ends, a nose tackle, two outside linebackers and two inside linebackers. Freeney was a great DE in Indianapolis when he was a seven time Pro Bowler and a four time All-Pro. In Freeney’s only season at LB, he had five sacks which is the second lowest total of his career.
Corey Liuget plays DE for San Diego and ranked second on the team with seven sacks in 2012. San Diego lost Shaun Phillips in free agency to the Denver Broncos so it will be important for the coaches to accommodate Freeney for him to replace Phillips’ production as Phillips led the team in sacks last year.
Freeney led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2004 and ranks fifth among active players with 107.5 career sacks. He battled injuries in 2012 so this along with him converting to LB may have contributed to his struggles.
Former South Carolina Gamecocks DE Melvin Ingram was expected to be more of a factor at OLB this season before he tore his ACL last week. San Diego needs Freeney to have a big season because Liuget and Kendall Reyes are the only returning players who had at least five sacks last season.
Jarret Johnson plays OLB, but he is not a pass rusher so Freeney will have to be a factor to make up for his lack of production. It will be interesting to see the adjustments that the coaches make to maximize Freeney.